Valley of the Kings: Afterlife
By Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)
About the game
When you die, you can take it with you!
Take on the role of Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for their death and burial in the Valley of the Kings. Using an innovative deck-building mechanic with a crumbling pyramid, players fill their tombs with jewelry, chambers, weapons, tomb art and other treasures. The player who collects the most valuable artifacts in their tomb wins the game.
My husband and I played Valley of the Kings: Afterlife recently and we had a great time learning this game. Essentially the game is a deck-building game but with a different twist as it uses a pyramid design to allow you to purchase your cards. Let me explain.
After learning how to play the game, we decided to used our lazy Susan in order to be able to switch the play between the two of us. We find that when it comes to deck-building games it is good to be able to have the flexibility to flip the game play between the persons playing in order to make a better decision. So we set up our stock (which contained the level II and level III cards), the boneyard (aka the destroy pile), and the pyramid before starting our play.
Each player gets starter cards which are composed of level I cards. You will receive in your hand 4 Shabtis, 3 Urns, 2 Boxes of Food, and 1 Offering Table. You also get a Tomb card as well as a reference card if you need it. In front of you, you would set up your area in whichever way you desire.
The goal of the game is to get the more points. Each turn you play you can do one of three things: 1) buy a card from the base of the pyramid, 2) execute the action listed on a card, 3) entomb a card (once per turn). How can you buy? Well each card has a cost which you can find at the top right corner. For example the Sphinx has a cost of 7. Each card also have value which allows you to purchase other cards. The Sphinx has a value of 3 which is indicated in the gold area on the left of the image. Each card also has an action which allow you to do something else. Again in the case of the Sphinx the action allowed is to put the next card you take or buy this turn into your hand. For this specific action it means you will be able to use the new card right away. Also as you play and purchase cards, the pyramid will crumble allowing the cards located at the top to come down in place on the pyramid. Once you have crumble the pyramid you can incorporate more cards at the top. However, the pyramid will always have only six cards.
There are three types of cards: starter cards (the ones you received initially in your hand), the unique artifacts (like the Sphinx, Ibex statue and so on), and the sets (mummification, jewelry, chambers, weapons, and tomb art).
As you play, you need to entombed cards in your Tomb. At the end of the game the entombed cards will be used to score the victory points. For starter cards and unique artifacts the victory points are calculated based on the VP listed on the card. Simply add these up. However, there is a different twist in calculating the points for the sets. In this case, when you have entombed sets you have to determine how many different cards in each set you have (do not count duplicates) and then square the results. Here’s what my tomb looked like when we finished the game. So for my Chambers set (orange cards)I had five cards in this set which gave me 25 (5x5) victory points. The rules also include a scoring example for people who might have difficulty in calculating the points. Also a quick note on our setting… My husband discovered that it would be more visual for him to see the cards stacked in categories so that is what we have decided to do but the idea is to stack your entombed cards under your Tomb.
We really enjoyed playing Valley of the Kings: Afterlife and look forward to play many more games with it. It is different than the other deck-building games in many ways as you entomb cards and purchase cards from a pyramid. There is strategy in this game as you have to build set within your tomb in order to score more points. Consequently, you have to be aware at what your opponent is doing and think before crumbling the pyramid so that you do not give an advantage to your opponent. The instructions are easy to follow and very clear from what we have seen. There was one time we wondered about the action associated with a card and we checked for more insights in the instructions book which provided more information about that card. However, most cards are very easy to understand. What I particularly like as well is the tidbits of historical information found at the bottom of each cards where you will be able to read about how the Egyptians used different things in their everyday life or preparation for the afterlife. This game is perfect to wrap-up some studies about Ancient Egypt. Thought it is mentioned 14 and up for this game, I am pretty confident that my 8, 10 and 12 years old would understood the rules and pick up the game rapidly. They already play other types of deck-building games that are above their ages.
The best part is that even if Valley of the Kings: Afterlife is a stand-alone game, it can be mixed with the original Valley of the Kings to play a different game each time and also play up to 6 players. We enjoyed Valley of the Kings: Afterlife so much that we will probably invest in getting the original Valley of the Kings so that we can play with our four kids as well.
The box contains 96 artifact cards, 4 tomb cards, 4 reference cards and a rule book. The game is planned for 24 players but it also include a solitaire rules if you desire to play alone. Expect a playtime of about 45 minutes.
Good news for people who enjoy the Valley of the Kings games – a new version titled Valley of the Kings: Last Rites will be available soon. In this new version you must hire artisans, builders, and priests to prepare your tomb for the afterlife. Again you will be able to mix this one with the two previous titles in the series.
Both Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Kings: Afterlife are available at your favourite game store – even on amazon.ca and amazon.com.
Disclaimer: Thanks to AEG for sending the above mentioned game for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.